Beware of Pity (novel)

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Beware of Pity
Beware of pity cover.png
AuthorStefan Zweig
Original titleUngeduld des Herzens
TranslatorPhyllis Blewitt
Trevor Eaton Blewitt
Anthea Bell
PublisherS. Fischer Verlag
Publication date
Published in English
Cassell (UK)
Viking Press (US)

Beware of Pity (German: Ungeduld des Herzens, literally The Heart's Impatience) is a 1939 novel by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. It was Zweig's longest work of fiction. It was adapted into a 1946 film of the same title, directed by Maurice Elvey.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The young lieutenant Anton Hofmiller is invited to the castle of the wealthy Hungarian Lajos Kekesfalva. He meets Kekesfalva's paralyzed daughter Edith and develops subtle affection and deep compassion for her. Edith falls in love with him. When she develops a hope for a speedy recovery, he eventually promises to marry her when she is recovered, with the hope that this will convince her to take the treatment. However, for fear of ridicule and contempt, he denies the engagement in public. When Edith learns of this, she takes her own life. Overwhelmed by guilt, he is deployed to the First World War.

In popular culture[edit]

As well as being filmed in Britain in 1946 as Beware of Pity, the novel was filmed in France as La Pitié dangereuse, 1979, directed by Édouard Molinaro and starring Marie-Hélène Breillat and Mathieu Carrière.

Wes Anderson loosely based his film The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) on Beware of Pity and The Post Office Girl.[2]

The four-part Russian television series Lyubov za lyubov (Love for Love) (2013) is based on Beware of Pity. The story is set in Ukraine on the eve of World War I in 1914. The director is Sergei Ashkenazy.

It was adapted to a stage play at the Barbican in 2017 directed by Simon McBurney.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lezard, Nicholas (2011-07-15). "Rereading: Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-04-30.
  2. ^ Film. "'I stole from Stefan Zweig': Wes Anderson on the author who inspired his latest movie". Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
  3. ^ Billington, Michael (11 February 2017). "Dazzling vision of a dying world". The Guardian. p. 42.

Further reading[edit]